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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

Fall Concert Highlights

It is with great sadness that I note the impending closure of Bread and Jam Cafe, where my friends in the local Americana band the Tern Rounders hosted their monthly Moonlight Jamboree. This is bad news for local music fans, particularly after the Lark Tavern was destroyed by fire earlier this year, and Revolution Hall decided to shut down. However, there are still plenty of good shows scheduled during the next few months. Here are some to look forward to:

The Riverfront Jazz Festival in Albany on Sept. 11 — As always, an interesting, eclectic line-up: the John Scofield Jazz Quartet, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, Somi and Troika. I caught Somi, a jazz singer with an African influence, at a performing arts showcase at Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center earlier this summer, and she was outstanding.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops at The Egg on Sept. 12 — This group is one of the few remaining old-time African-American string bands. I’d love to see them, but I’m going to be out of town this weekend.

Larkfest in Albany on Sept. 25 — My hatred of festivals is pretty well documented, and I haven’t been to Larkfest in years — my years of living on Lark Street made me regard the annual music festival as a noisy nuisance that caused strangers to sit on my stoop and leave garbage everywhere. That said, this year’s line-up looks interesting, mainly due to the presence of up-and-comer Eli “Paperboy” Reed, an energetic soul singer from Brookline, Mass. And he calls himself Paperboy, which is cool.

Meshell Ndegeocello & Friends at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sept. 25 — Neo-soul singer Meschell Ndegeocello is a good reason to check it out one of the newest venues in the area. I own her fine 1993 album “Plantation Lullabies,” and I’d be interested to see how her smart and sultry mix of hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz translates to a live show. Rather well, I imagine.

Ani Difranco at the Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College on Sept. 26 — My Ani phase is pretty much over, but she puts on a good show and is well worth seeing. Of course, you do have to put up with her fans, who like to scream their love for her at the top of their lungs. My friend Kim saw her earlier this year at The Egg, and reports that someone actually asked her to pass a note to a screaming fan, asking her to be quiet. I don’t know what’s more annoying, a screaming fan or an irritable note passer.

JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys on Oct. 6—I’ve never heard these guys, but Chrissie is Chrissie Hynde, of The Pretenders, and so of course I’m intrigued. Hynde was great at the Palace when I saw her, and will be performing an acoustic set with her new band.

Rodrigo y Gabriela at The Egg on Oct. 12 — A Mexican guitar duo with a hard rock/metal vibe? I’ve only heard one song by Rodrigo y Gabriela, “Buster Voodoo” (which is dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, by the way), but it’s so good that I’m automatically interested in seeing this show.

Bad Religion at Northern Lights on Oct. 16 —I wouldn’t call myself a Bad Religion fan, but I’ve certainly heard my share of the band’s music, thanks to my friends Ed, Dave and Melissa. So I list this concert in honor of them.

Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses at The Linda at WAMC on Oct. 17 — Bingham, better known as the guy who wrote the music for “Crazy Heart,” has a rich, gravelly voice that belies his youthful good looks. This is a chance to catch him in a small, intimate venue, where I expect his haunting, literate songs will really shine.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band at The College of St. Rose on Oct. 26 — This is almost guaranteed to be a good time. I actually saw the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Preservation Hall many moons ago, on a trip to New Orleans, and it was a ton of fun. Of course, part of the appeal was Preservation Hall itself, a non-descript dive in the French Quarter that looks like it’s in imminent danger of collapse.

Social Distortion at Northern Lights on Oct. 28 — I saw Social Distortion in Denver five years ago with my friends Ed, Dave and Melissa, and I list this concert because it brings back happy memories.

Richard Thompson at The Egg on Oct. 30 — I can’t believe it took me so long to get into Richard Thompson, but I just recently began listening to him, and I’m mightily impressed with his guitar playing and songwriting. Why didn’t I discover this guy earlier in life? Oh, well. Anyway, he comes to The Egg a lot, and one of these days I’ll actually catch him.

The Bad Plus at the Zankel Music Center on Nov. 4 — A jazz trio that covers rocks songs by bands such as Nirvana and the Pixies? Of course I want to go.

Colin Hay at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Nov. 5 — Gazette music writer Brian McElhiney spoke very highly of Hay (of Men at Work) after reviewing him at The Egg a couple years ago, and on that basis alone I’m interested.

Elizabeth Cook at The Linda at WAMC on Nov. 8 — I’m not a big country fan, but I heard Cook on the music program The World Cafe with David Dye, and was pretty impressed. She’s been called “this generation’s Loretta Lynn” by Nanci Griffith, and it was easy to see why.

Emmylou Harris at The Egg on Nov. 14 —I saw Harris in Portland, Maine, last year, and was mesmerized by her warm stage presence, tremendous voice and terrific mix of songs. Well worth seeing.

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